Anti-spending group launches early-state ad blitz

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This article originally appeared on RealClearPolitics.

The already saturated Iowa airwaves are about to be flooded with another major political advertising barrage as a well-funded anti-spending group launches a TV campaign ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses.

Ending Spending, a nonprofit 501(c) 4 advocacy group, has announced a $400,000 ad buy that will feature its 30-second commercial on cable news channels in Iowa starting Thursday.

The group plans to expand its TV blitz to New Hampshire and South Carolina in the week before each of those two subsequent primaries in January and says it will also spend an additional $80,000 on a national online campaign.

Funded by TD Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, Ending Spending has already posted on its Web site video conversations with each of the major Republican presidential candidates.

In the videos, each GOP White House hopeful is asked the same set of questions about spending issues and the country's economic future.

The unedited videos that appear on the Web site were all shot on the trail following typical campaign events and are intended to provide a form of direct access to voters who are unable to see the candidates in person.

"We believe that the debt crisis is really a problem for this country, and we think the next president -- whether it's a Republican or Democrat -- needs to address it as their number one priority," Brian Baker, the group's president, told RCP.

According to Baker, all of the Republican candidates he spoke with said that they supported a balanced budget amendment, but their answers varied widely as to the level where federal spending should be capped.

Ending Spending was originally known as Taxpayers Against Earmarks but changed its name after congressional leaders imposed an earmark moratorium.

The group has had conversations with representatives of the Obama campaign and hopes to schedule a conversation with the president in the coming months.

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.